Your sitting at a business dinner. You don’t know anyone at the table. The person beside you introduces themselves and asks the question: “So what do you do?”

Often called the “Elevator Pitch” for the short time you have to make a meaningful connection. It’s your opportunity to say something inspiring, relevant and interesting about what you do professionally.

This concise and engaging introduction needs to be practiced over and over again until you are completely comfortable. It will take time for it to become natural.

People are busy, and being able to communicate who you are and what you do quickly and effectively will ensure that you get your most important points across, no matter how short the conversation.

Check out our step-by-step guide to crafting—and perfecting—your pitch as provided by Muse. 

1. Start With a Blank Canvas

  1. Take a blank piece of paper and number it from one to 10. Then, fill in the most important bits of information that you want to convey about yourself, your service or product, or your company.
  2. What, exactly, do you do? What have you achieved, and what are your goals? Who does your company serve and why? Focus on the most interesting or memorable facts—the ones that really make you stand out from others.

2. Red Pen It

Using a different color pen, edit what you’ve drafted with a critical eye. Eliminate any redundancies, unnecessary or unclear information, and broad business jargon.

3. Pick a Card

  1. Grab five index cards, and label them “Who I Am,” “What I Do,” “How I Do It,” “Why I Do It,” and “Who I Do It For.” Add each item on the list you’ve created to the card where it fits best.
  2. Ideally, you’ll have two compelling sentences underneath each heading, so fill in any gaps if you need to.

4. Get in Order

  • Organize the cards in a logical order, making sure the most important information is first.
  • Remember, you often only have a few seconds to communicate with someone. If you get cut off, what would you want her to walk away remembering?

5. Add an Attention-Getter

Your goal is to immediately engage someone so that he or she is intrigued and wants to learn more. You can focus on how you or your business is unique (or wins over the competition) in a catchy or fun way. Tip: Try and be the first person to ask “What do you do”…. that way when it is your turn you can adapt it to what you have learned about the person first. This is helpful become you can tailor what you are saying to be relevant to what the needs are of the person you are speaking to. If you aren’t a fit for this person maybe they know someone who is.

6. Practice!

Recite your pitch to someone close who can be objective, and ask for constructive feedback.

What may seem clear in your mind might come across as convoluted, long-winded, or fragmented to an outside observer.

7. Record Your Pitch

Once you’ve gotten feedback and honed your pitch even further, record yourself saying it. Listen to your tone—make sure it’s friendly, non-threatening, and that you’re not talking a mile a minute (knowing you only have a few moments to speak may subconsciously increase your pace).

Really listen to what you’re saying—make sure you’re not repeating words and that you’re sending the message you really want to convey.

7. Practice it in-person

One of the best ways to do this is when you are exhibiting at a trade show booth.  People are coming up to you constantly asking you what you do – it is a perfect opportunity to practice speaking about what you do. You can practice your pitch over and over again until you have perfected it! Just be sure you are being of service and not coming across as just interested in hearing yourself talk or going for a hard sell. Chances are you will turn the person off and the conversation will go nowhere!

Need some help?

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